by Steven Paterson, former MP for Stirling
The frenzied speculation about how long Prime Minister Theresa May‘s ghostly apparition will haunt 10 Downing Street reached new heights this week, as Tory MPs engaged in increasingly bitter internecine warfare over the succession.
Mrs May herself must have been grateful to be jetting off to China in pursuit of trade deals, leaving the squabbling factions to tear one another apart in her absence instead of right in front of her. She cuts a lonely figure these days, convincing nobody she has any authority left or is in any realistic sense in charge.
Instead, we have governmental paralysis, despite vital Brexit negotiations restarting this week on which the future prosperity and trading status of the country depends. The hard-Brexit brigade, amongst whose esteemed members are such noted bigwigs as Boris Johnston, Michael Gove and the hyperactive Jacob Rees-Mogg, seem to spend more of their time slagging off members of the more pragmatic majority of the parliamentary Tory party, who were against Brexit to begin with but now feel compelled to follow through with it following the EU referendum. The hard-Brexit brigade is winning though, and no mistake.
The Prime Minister’s Cabinet reshuffle was supposed to be a re-launch of her flagging premiership but instead served as a New Year reminder that what serves as a Government at present is a zombie administration somehow continuing to exist despite having expired some time ago.
The omens were not good for the Prime Minister when an overeager staffer at Number 10 incorrectly broadcast to the world via Twitter that Transport Secretary had been moved to Tory Party Chairman. The tweet was quickly deleted, but not before it had been widely promoted by the media.
After this early gaff, the live coverage of Theresa May attempting to exert her authority over her government quickly went from boring to utter tedium, as it became clear that there was precious little shuffling of ministerial posts going on. To nobody’s surprise, blunderbuss Boris couldn’t be moved for fear that on the backbenches, he would act as a magnet for the malcontents and quickly lead a challenge that would finally put the current Prime Minister out of her misery. It says it all about the wretched state of Westminster politics that this awful prospect is taken seriously by anyone, but it is.
And Boris’s fellow big beasts were also too powerful to be confronted. Hour after hour went by with the only updates from number ten confirming which Minister’s weren’t being shuffled about or out of the Government. Number 10’s Twitter account broke exclusive news with mundane regularity: “Philip Hammond to remain Chancellor of the Exchequer” – shock. “Amber Rudd to remain as Home Secretary” – stunning.
By former Stirling MP, Steven Paterson
The metaphor “death by a thousand cuts” probably has its origin in the tortuous and brutal form of execution known as Ling Chi, which was used in medieval China for heinous crimes such as treason.
The phrase which is now commonplace in English means a slow, painful, incremental and inevitable demise. Such a certain death can hardly be more accurately applied than to the slow collapse of the present UK Tory Government.
We have had Tory Governments imposed on us here in Scotland for the majority of my lifetime, and democracy for Scotland is at the heart of my politics. In the most basic of terms, Scotland should always get the government Scotland votes for.
Unfortunately, the cherished Union means that in governance terms, “we get what we’re telt”. Or to put it more bluntly, “shut up, Scotland, and eat your cereal”. However, even comparing the present incarnation of the Tory regime with its predecessors, Theresa May’s class of 2017 is as weak as dishwater to a degree unprecedented.
Whilst the SNP Government here in Scotland is working to deliver fair pay to the public sector on limited resources, our local Tory Member of Parliament is using his time in the Commons to block fair pay for nurses.
“Budget passed, crisis over, media grumpy, Tories furious, Labour irrelevant”…. yeah that will do!
Stirling MP Steven Paterson has voted against the UK Government’s Bill to trigger Article 50 – the formal process for leaving the European Union – and has slammed the Tory Government for its refusal to take the Scottish electorate seriously and Labour for supporting it.
Mr Paterson joined a number of MPs in urging the Brexit Secretary to publish a White Paper, detailing the UK Government’s plans for exiting the EU.
SNP MP Steven Paterson has said that Andy and Jamie Murray “richly deserve” a legacy after years of “dedication and hard work” in tennis.
Steven Paterson, the SNP MP for Stirling, made the comments as he led an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on the sporting legacy of the brothers.
Stirling MP Steven Paterson has welcomed today’s announcement of a City Deal for Stirling. The Chancellor of the Exchequer committed the UK Government to a city deal for Stirling during his Autumn Statement earlier today.
The City Deal bid seeks investment that will improve local infrastructure and encourage business growth and jobs within Stirling. The hard work of Stirling Council Officers in producing a gold standard comprehensive business plan for Stirling has been highly commended by UK Government ministers, local representatives, and civil servants alike.
Mr Paterson led a delegation of local representatives in discussions in Whitehall in September this year, calling for the UK Government to commit to a city deal for Stirling.
Earlier this week, the Scottish Government announced its commitment to working with the UK Government in delivering City Deal investment for Stirling.
In the boundary review of Scottish constituencies, the Stirling constituency is split in two becoming Stirling North and Stirling South.
The proposals will take areas of the current Clackmannanshire constituency and merge it into the North side of the city. The South side will merge with parts of what would have formerly have been part of Falkirk.